Dust Devils try a new approach to front office

June 14, 2013 

Every once in a while, you have to shake things up.

The Colorado Rockies weren’t afraid to make a few changes for 2013, including a complete rotation of coaches for the Tri-City Dust Devils.

But the eyes of Major League Baseball will be on the Rockies franchise for an innovative new approach to the way minor league baseball teams are run.

With the introduction of a Development Supervisor at each affiliate, the Rockies are hoping to give their players every opportunity to succeed.

The traditional roles still exist — a manager, a pitching coach and a hitting coach — but the new position gives each team another set of eyes that will take a big-picture approach in the day-to-day operations.

Ron Gideon, who managed the Dust Devils from 2002-05, was named the DS for Tri-City, and he’s a big believer in the new system.

“I was in the same boat as a manager. You get tunnel vision. You end up getting in the same routine every day, and before you know it the season is over and you really haven’t accomplished anything,” he said. “That’s something we’re going to change.”

The idea is to tune into the needs of the modern player and take a closer look at what it takes to help their development.

“We’re overseeing the food they eat, the transportation, the workouts,” Gideon said. “We put a new weight training program into play. When they get up, they log in to put how many hours of sleep they got and what they’ve eaten. We’re trying to figure out the best things we can do for these kids.”

During games, Gideon will be watching everything from player positioning to defensive reactions to cutoffs and relays, any of which could affect how the team conducts its workout the next day.

“We’ve gotta be good at fundamentals. If you can’t catch the ball and make outs, it doesn’t matter how many runs you score,” he said. “We may not even hit some days.”

As far as Gideon knows, the Rockies are the first team to put a system like this into practice.

“People can knock it and say it’s not going to work, but it’s like any business corporation. If you put the right people in the right places, it’s going to work,” he said. “We’ve got a good staff here. There’s a good energy, and they want to work. They’re all new at it, but you know what? That’s good because we’ll put our heads together and move on. There’s no egos in this thing.

“If it doesn’t work it’s our fault, but the first 2 1/2 months of extended (spring training) it went well.”

The Northwest League underwent a drastic change in 2013, changing from an East-West format to a North-South format. The Dust Devils are in the North Division along with the Everett AquaSox, the Spokane Indians and the Vancouver Canadians. The South Division consists of the Boise Hawks, Eugene Emeralds, Hillsboro Hops and the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes.

Teams will play 12 games (6 home and 6 away) against division rivals and 10 games (5 home, 5 away) against inter-division teams.

Dust Devils OF Carl Thomore was traded to the Chicago White Sox for an undisclosed amount of cash Friday afternoon.

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